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BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

Seven month baby update

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Last week, Daphne turned seven months old! And celebrated the occasion with a monumental growth spurt – I swear, she is TALL now. When I stand her up (she loves standing while holding my hands) she reaches the top of my head if I’m sitting on the floor with her – it’s crazy. Her little neck is lengthening now and to me, she looks like a child more than a baby (I know, she still looks like a baby really – but her face is maturing).

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I felt quite emotional about her turning seven months – almost really relieved somehow, as though at seven months she is somehow less vulnerable and fragile. I love the fact that now she can eat almost anything she likes, and she’s happily graduated onto the more grown up Ella’s Kitchen pouches. Yesterday she had macaroni cheese and loved it, and I’m trying her on spaghetti bolognese later. As for weaning, it’s going really really well – she’ll eat pretty much anything and also loves drinking water out of my glass too – I’ve tried giving her her own beaker but she much prefers drinking from my glass. Which is very cute apart from the backwash. She just wants to copy everything we eat and drink at the moment and is happily munching her way through cheese, rice cakes, cucumber and any soft fruit. The only thing that doesn’t agree with her are yoghurts – we’ve tried a few times now and they come straight back up. Do I have the only baby in the world who doesn’t like yoghurt?!

We’ve been pretty lazy on the weaning front when it comes to making her things from scratch – I do feel guilty about this but also I like the fact that she can try a huge variety of things easily with the Ella’s Kitchen pouches – making that range of food at home would cost a fortune and we only have a tiny freezer compartment so it wouldn’t really be practical to make huge batches and freeze them. I think life’s too short to worry too much about these things when she only eats tiny portions (they are organic after all!) and she’ll have plenty of homecooked food in her lifetime. Just don’t tell anyone on Mumsnet.

She has three ‘meals’ a day now, alongside her milk (five bottles of 7oz, although she doesn’t often finish the daytime ones). She has baby porridge with prunes in (to keep her regular, ahem, and to make sure she poos during the day rather than at night) for breakfast, then lunch is finger food such as bits of toast with cheese and cooked veg, then dinner is a proper ‘meal’ with protein in like chicken casserole. She also has water with each meal which she loves – she actually prefers water to her milk now which has been a bit worrying. I’ve not tried her on anything else like watered-down juice, in case she gives up milk completely.

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Other than that – sleeping has been much better! She has slept through (touch wood!) most nights the past fortnight – although she always wakes up super bloody early – like 5.30am, which is quite exhausting in itself. However, I’m confident (is this wise? am I jinxing myself? probably) that now she’s got the hang of not eating at night she’ll eventually start sleeping later – fingers crossed. We didn’t really do anything differently to get her to sleep through – except for not letting her fall asleep while having her final bottle of the day, as this means when she wakes up in the night and the bottle is gone, she doesn’t freak out but can put herself back to sleep. It’s all about sleep associations or something… anyway it’s worked! It’s been so nice to have some long uninterrupted bouts of sleep over the past two weeks. I actually can’t believe I survived so long on so little sleep up till now – it’s kind of crazy what you can deal with if you don’t have any choice…

She’s ‘talking’ a lot more now, making all kinds of weird and wonderful noises, including some epic laughing fits at nothing in particular. She’s also cottoned on to the fact that if she coughs she gets attention so she is constantly coughing for no reason – very sneaky! We always rush to her to see what’s going on but she’s always totally bloody fine and stops coughing the moment she sees us and starts smiling.

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I have a feeling already that she’ll be a bit of a diva – she gets a lot of attention from both of us and I do worry that perhaps we’re setting ourselves up for trouble in the future. Although I keep reading that you can’t spoil a baby with love, so that makes me feel better about it. And I do love her – goodness me, she’s just absolutely my favourite person ever, endlessly fascinating and entertaining.

She’s a lazy lump though. Seven months old and although she CAN roll if she wants to, she rarely bothers, and as for sitting up – it’s mostly too much of a hassle and she’d prefer to be held upright on your lap thank you very much. Obviously there’s absolutely no sign of crawling from her either – but apparently I didn’t crawl until I was one (! this explains why I was always last to be picked for netball) so I guess she takes after me in that regard. Let’s face it, with us as parents she was never going to be a gymnast…

PS just read this back and realised it reads like it’s sponsored by Ella’s Kitchen. I promise it’s not! Although if they want to sponsor me and send me a few pouches, it’d save us a fortune 😉

BABY ON BOARD

My top 5 post-labour surprises

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Luckily, she’s worth it

I never thought much about what would happen AFTER I’d given birth. I was so focused on the pregnancy, and then on the birth itself, that what would happen afterwards hadn’t really occurred to me. My priority was surviving the process, and ensuring Daphne arrived safely. Afterwards was this kind of mystical land that I couldn’t really imagine getting to. And boy, did it blindside me! So, for those of you about to give birth, forewarned is forearmed! Here are some of the things that threw me:

1. How much you wee after birth.

You know how I complained about my insane water retention during pregnancy (esp in my feet)? Well, as soon as you give birth, it all starts to leave your body – and the easiest way for it to do that is through your wee. For the first week or so, I found myself having to literally run to the toilet every hour or so, and then, to quote Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire ‘piss like a racehorse’. It was kind of satisfying but given the state of my pelvic floor post-birth, also a little bit stressful when the toilet wasn’t near, or someone else was hogging it… and don’t get me started on the uncontrollable flatulence – suffice to say, everyone was right about the necessity of doing those Kegel exercises. Dammit.

2. The pain when you sit down.

I hadn’t thought about this either – I knew about stitches and how much they hurt, but I didn’t think about the fact that you CAN’T REALLY SIT ON THEM because ouch, that whole area is just unhappy and bruised and angry with you. So for the first few days after having Daphne, sitting down filled me with dread – it was kind of OK once I was sitting, but the actual process involved gingerly lowering myself into the seat, wincing the entire time. I also suffered from a horribly bruised coccyx (it gets shoved out of place as the baby pushes her way out) and this lasted for nearly three weeks – making leaning back in a chair impossible, and clutch ‘control’ when driving a bit of a misnomer.

3. If you’re a screamer, you lose your voice.

Maybe this is just me, but thanks to my impressive screaming during labour, I was completely hoarse for the next two days. It was even worse than the day-after-drunken-karaoke. Enough said.

4. The complete lack of core strength.

Another interesting post-labour side effect – I thought this one was something only those who had C sections had to deal with, but no, for at least two weeks after Daphne’s birth I had hardly any strength in my core – making sitting up in bed or getting out of the car/up from a chair a real challenge. Apparently I’m one of the lucky ladies whose abdominal muscles have separated, which might explain this. However, I also noticed that all the new mums on the post-natal ward were walking around (like me) in a kind of hunched-over shuffle. It’s kind of how I imagine men feel after being kicked in the balls. But you know, it lasts for weeks. Yesterday, I actually got irrationally angry when someone on TV who’d just had a baby in the programme was walking around all sprightly the day after. NOT POSSIBLE!

5. The Googling.

This is the biggest one. I was always quite a prolific googler, but it’s now out of hand. You will google everything. EVERYTHING. Before the baby is born, you feel you’re quite clued up, you’ve read What to Expect the 1st Year, but still you find yourself, bleary eyed mid-feed at 4am, trying to find out if the red mark between your baby’s eyebrows is anything to worry about, or if the fact she’s only done one poo today is anything to worry about, or how terrible it is to resort to a dummy at three weeks, or how to increase your milk supply, or which breast pump is the best, or whether your baby’s projectile vomiting is dangerous enough to warrant a trip to A&E (ahem, yes, we went, at 3am, after I screamed at Oli to call an ambulance… she was absolutely fine of course). There is SO MUCH to learn, and so much confusing info out there and Google keeps calling you and luring you in deeper and deeper… However, the forums on Mumsnet and Netmums must be avoided at all costs (or you will end up in A&E).

What were your biggest post-labour surprises? I’d love to hear from other new mums!